5 Fantastic Products to Increase Your Workshop Productivity
Check out these incredible new products that will help your workshop function better and increase your project productivity.
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I have a love-hate relationship with my routers. I love that they can take a chunk of wood or a ho-hum project and turn it into something polished and classy looking. I hate that they scatter dust and debris to all four corners of my shop. That’s why I was intrigued when a box emblazoned with “UNIVERSAL DUST-FREE ROUTER HOOD” landed on my workbench. Could it really eliminate dust? And would it really fit my router without a lot of hassle? The answers are yes and yes. The Oneida router hood costs about $35 at hardware stores, home centers and online.
My compressor frowned at me when I brought home a DeWalt cordless brad nailer a year ago. Now that I’ve brought home its big brother—the DCN650D1 15-gauge cordless angled finish nailer—my compressor won’t even speak to me. This duo has nearly put the noisy old relic out of business. The “micro nose” allows you to see your mark more easily and drive nails—from 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 in. long—precisely where you want them. Its dual-purpose headlights light up your work area and flash if your battery is low (left headlight) or if you have a nail jam (right headlight). n Speaking of jams, this nailer has the easiest-operating jam-clearing latch I’ve ever encountered. It loads easily too. This tool has other cool features, such as a depth-adjustment wheel, a belt hook and a selector switch so you can bump-nail.
Sure, this nailer has a few drawbacks—like the $400 price tag for the complete kit. And it’s a little heavier and bulkier than my pneumatic nailer. But you can't beat the hassle-free nailing.
Check out an awesome nailer-heavy project.
I have a big shop with a dust collection system, two wet/dry vacs and an 18-in. broom for cleaning up. So I wondered, “When am I ever going to use a pint-size tool like the Milwaukee 18-volt vacuum?” The answer was “hourly.” The M18 Compact Vacuum 0882-20 isn’t a wimpy broom-closet hand vac—it’s a real tool. I took it for a test drive, and powered by the 5.0-Ah battery pack, it worked full tilt for 28 minutes before sputtering. I used it to vacuum floors and drawers, suck up dust around stationary tools, clean off my workbench, get dust out of cabinet crevices and remove sawdust from my clothes. I even connected the hose to my random orbital sander and put it to work as a point-of-use dust collector. With two 1-ft. extensions and the floor tool attached, the vacuum easily picked up sawdust and wood chips. At 6 lbs., it’s light enough to maneuver easily. It has a HEPA filter and it’s a breeze to empty. Even though it’s not for wet spills, and it’s loud enough to warrant hearing protection, I still find it indispensable.
There's not one BIG thing we love about Rockwell's new Vibrafree random orbital sander—it's a lot of little things. The split disc has inner and outer rings (one turns clockwise, the other counterclockwise) that counteract each other for less vibration. The split-disc design also provides a larger opening for more efficient dust collection (using either the clear collector shown or the vacuum attachment included). The sander feels good in the hand, and we like the variable speed. The Vibrafree sander (about $70) is available at home centers and online.
Plus: All the power sanding tips you need to know.
I need a stud finder about once a year...and that’s about how long the batteries in my electronic stud finder last. So I keep this handy gadget in the bottom of my toolbox for finding studs the old-fashioned way—magnetically. You run this little fella in a zigzag pattern across the wall, and when it detects a metal screw or nail that fastens the drywall to the stud, the little red tongue waggles. It seems a little hit-and-miss, but finding a stud has never taken me more than 15 seconds. Johnson Level’s Stud Finder Plus (about $4) is available at most hardware stores and home centers.